Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

Author Visit: Lisa McMann

At 6:30 on Monday, February 11, New York Times Bestselling YA and youth author Lisa McMann will grace Shorewood Library with her presence!

McMann is the author of the Wake trilogy (Wake, Fade and Gone), along with other YA titles Dead To You and Cryer’s Cross. Her latest YA offering, Crash, comes out this month. Check out some of her books before she arrives, plan to get some signed, and most of all, enjoy hearing this big-name author speak this February!

Haven’t read the Wake trilogy? Pick it up ASAP!

Wake tells the story of Janie Hannigan whose rare, if not exactly wonderful, gift of being uncontrollably drawn into other people’s dreams has meant her life is a little different from that of  the average high school student. When Janie starts visiting the dreams of mysterious loner Cabel,  she begins to realize the full extent of her power. In Fade, Janie uses her power for good: to unravel a mystery involving a possible sexual predator who is plaguing her high school. Janie also becomes privy to some information which may tell her more about her fate, but she might not want to know. In Gone, we delve more deeply into Janie’s personal life and the ways that her dream catching power has helped and hurt her.

Dead To You is a starkly realistic – even tragic – story of 16-year-old Ethan De Wilde, who was abducted when he was young but lost the memory of his life before then.  When Ethan seeks, and finds, his real name and story, he is reunited with his torn-up family – but nothing is that easy. There is mystery and more in this gripping psychological story.

Her newest book, Crash, out now, is similarly dark, supernatural and psychological. Jules Demarco is suddenly plagued by the same vision repeated everywhere – of an accident involving a snow plow crashing into a building and killing nine people. Why is she the only one who sees this? Has it already happened, or is it something yet to come? As she realizes what she is seeing, she knows it is her mission to try to stop it from happening.

McMann’s offerings for a slightly younger audience, The Unwanteds series, show how skilled of an author she is. The Unwanteds is a fun, fantastical adventure story – completely devoid of the supernatural and psychological details that make her YA books so riveting. In Quill, a sort of dystopian land where 13-year-olds who show any creativity are sent away, twin brothers Alex and Aaron are abruptly separated when Alex is proven to be a creative Unwanted and Aaron is named a Wanted. While Aaron gets to continue to live his life in Quill, distinguishing himself in university, Alex is sentenced to death. But when he meets the man who is supposed to take him to his death, he learns what really happens to Unwanteds – and takes us to the wondrous and magical land of Artime.


Meet the Morris Award

There are so many book awards these days. Whoever says that reading is a dying art has not explored the world of book awards! There also seem to be an increasing number of awards for YA books, which is great for us YA fiends. Here’s one that you might not know about, but which is really worth exploring: The William C. Morris Award, given by the American Library Association, honors a book written for young adults by a previously unpublished author. Looking at the award nominees for this unique award is a great way to find authors you might not have heard of yet! Here’s the list of this year’s nominees:

Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby


Historical fiction. Set in Depression Era America, Wonder Show follows Portia Remini who is on the run from the creepy McGreavy’s Home for Wayward Girls, and on the hunt for her father.

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

Romance. Amelia is 15 and her grocery store coworker crush is…a little older. Set in Australia, this is a funny story of heartbreak and love and, above all, awkwardness.

After the Snow by S.D. Crockett


Post-apocalyptic. In the year 2059 a new Ice Age took the world. Willo Blake was born into this freezing future and must search out his  family after they mysteriously disappear from their mountain home.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post


Realistic/LGBT. The early 1990s was not a great time for the plight of LGBT teens. This fictional look at that time in history tells the memorable and moving story of gay teen Cameron as she makes her way through a gay conversion center.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman


Fantasy. Dragons and humans co-exist – although not in total harmony – in this cool fantasy debut. Orphan Seraphina grapples with her identity in a magical world rife with scandal and secrets.

TAB Book Review: Clockwork Angel

Have you read the Mortal Instruments series? Then you should definitely read Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare! It is a fantasy book that is the first in a trilogy of prologues to Cassandra Clare’s bestselling Mortal Instruments series. It takes place in 1878 London, and follows the main character, Tessa Gray, through her adventures with the Shadowhunters (people who hunt demons) of the London Institute.

When Tessa receives a steamer ticket from New York to London from her older brother, she doesn’t expect to find out that her brother has been kidnapped by two Sorceresses called the Dark Sisters, who will kill him if she doesn’t do exactly what they tell her. Neither does she expect to uncover an incredible, yet frightening, talent, or meet the mysterious Will Herondale, who has hidden his past even from his best friend.

Clockwork Angel is an exciting mix of magic, mystery, action, suspense, and romance. It is a must-read even for those who have not read the Mortal Instruments. Enjoy!

-Reviewed by TAB member Annalise L.

What I’m Reading Now

What I’m reading now are several books all at once, that you will love. The problem is, not all of these books are located in the Teen section here at Shorewood Library, so you might not find them if I don’t tell you about them. So I will!

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (Children’s fiction) and the sequel which just came out, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

This is Valente’s first book for children and it shows because this book is most definitely suitable for a much wider audience than just the under-12 set. The Girl series (as I will call it because those are some long titles), follows September, a wild-haired girl from middle-of-nowhere Nebraska whose dad is off fighting in what I think is supposed to be World War II, and whose mom works at an airplane-building factory. September is consequently often alone and often wishes she could be whisked off to Fairyland. And one day, she is. What she finds there, though, is a Fairyland where no one is allowed to fly or drink cocoa or do anything silly or fun or fairy-like. September makes a few friends and uses her marvelous courage to release Fairyland from its all-powerful Marquess and restore it to its former glory. She thinks. In the sequel, September returns to Fairyland and all is not quite as she thought it might be. Her own shadow is now perpetrating awful acts of magic-stealing in Fairyland-Below and September must once again right the wrongs. Valente’s writing is completely magical and every character is one you wish you had known sooner and hope to know for the rest of your life.

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente (Adult fiction)

Being inspired by Valente’s Fairyland tales, I decided to check out her most recent offering for adults. This is another one, though, that teens should flock to. It’s a weird re-imagining of a character from Russian folklore, Koschei the Deathless, who comes out of myth and messes things up in modern-day Russia. It’s a magical take on actual history, which certainly makes the history of Russia – as exciting as it has been in real life, with those Czars and revolutions and spies and such – really thrilling to read about. In this book, Valente uses largely the same writing style and language as in the Girl series, but the subject matter makes it more appropriate for teens and adults.

If you’re looking for some really great fiction and you’re a fan of magic and fantasy, books like Alice in Wonderland, Garth Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom series, and re-imagined fairy tales, these books are for you!



New Books Highlight: Graphic Novels

Friday is the day for new books! What’s shiny and unread on the Shorewood Library shelves this week? Graphic novels!

Cardboard written and illustrated by Doug TenNapel

In this stand-alone graphic novel, Doug TenNapel (author of other great  graphics including Bad Island and Ghostopolis) tells us the story of Cam and his hard-up and out-of-work dad who tries to create a little magic for Cam on his birthday. Cam’s dad builds a cardboard creature that comes to life, with somewhat disastrous consequences for the entire town once bad-boy neighbor Marcus gets his wily hands on it. If you like stories involving a little adventure, a little fantasy, and a little world-saving, and stories of off-kilter villains and humble heroes, you’ll love this one.

Broxo written and illustrated by Zack Giallongo

Fantasy meets zombie invasion meets graphic novel in this unique adventure story. If you are a fan of fantasy and/or zombie fic, but not yet on board with graphic novels, start with Broxo. The title character, Broxo, is the last surviving member of a band of barbarians who spends his time avoiding the walking dead that periodically try to share his deserted mountaintop with him. When a princess comes along, she and Broxo team-up to defeat the zombie-like creatures and try to unravel the mystery of Broxo’s lost band of warriors. A fun read!

Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel adapted and illustrated by Hope Larson

Hope Larson re-imagines A Wrinkle in Time visually, creating the world of Meg Murry we have all only seen in our imaginations. If you haven’t read A Wrinkle in Time in a while, pick this up for a really great reminder, and to discover new things about the story, too. (That said, if you’ve never read A Wrinkle in Time start with the non-graphic novel version…)

New Books Highlight

There are lots of awesome new YA books at Shorewood Library! Which should you read first? How about sequels to books you gushed over, and the first book in a new series that is totally gush-worthy, too?

Blackwatch by Jenna Burtenshaw

In this sequel to 2011’s Shadowcry, Kate Winters finds herself being hunted by the Blackwatch and people she thought she could trust. She’s the only one who can use the magic held within the ancient text the Wintercraft, and could thus be a powerful weapon if her people could only capture her. With the help of murderous traitor Silas Dane, to whom her fate is linked, Kate must find a way to save Albion.

Shadows by Ilsa Bick

Shadows is the second book in the Ashes Trilogy (Ashes, the first book, came out in 2011) and holds even more heart-topping dark thrills than the first. In a post-apocalyptic world, Alex must fight for her life against the demons created from the fall of the world – both the Changed, who want to eat her alive, and the still-human survivors who don’t trust her. As with all great post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, Bick eerily portrays a world so like our own, yet has been utterly altered in a way that seems almost feasible.

A Midsummer Tight’s Dream by Louise Rennison

On a lighter note, check out this latest installment in Louise Rennison’s hilarious and super-Brit series about Tallulah Casey (Withering Tights is the first book about Tallulah, following on the heels of Rennison’s classic series about Georgia Nicholson). Tallulah is back for another term at Dother Hall, this time as part of the performing arts program. The school is in financial trouble, though, so not only does she have to avoid making a fool of herself while Irish dancing, be a hit in the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and get better at snogging, but she’s got to help keep the school from closing, too! Laugh after riotous laugh is promised.

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

This is book one of Brennan’s new series The Lynburn Legacy, author of the Demon’s Lexicon trilogy. Kami Glass has her life pretty much held together, even though she’s in love with a boy who seems to exist only in her head (and to whom she is sometimes caught speaking aloud). But when the Lynburns return to reclaim their manor house in Kami’s tiny English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale (awesome name!), Kami is suddenly faced with questions that need answers. Including whether or not she still loves her imaginary friend now that he seems to be a real boy…

Click the book cover images to see whether or not each title is available in CountyCat!

Summer Reading

Looking for a great book to read this summer? Try one of these:

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
The summer after senior year brings a life changing road trip for Colby and the band he’s touring with.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
A cyborg Cinderella retelling with lots of action and romance.

The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman
A strange disc in the air above his house transports Tucker on a wild adventure.

Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay
A long distance relationship may be forever broken by one mistake.

The List by Siobhan Vivian
How does making the list forever change your life?


Not a common phenomenon in most teen books, but something that can enhance a story are illustrations.  Here are three great books with some wonderful illustrations.

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, art by Maira Kalman
When Min and Ed break up, she puts the mementos from their relationship in a box to return to him along with a letter that tells the story of their romance and its ultimate end.  Each chapter begins with a beautiful illustration of the memento.

Winter Town by Stephen Emond
Evan, a gifted cartoonist, looks forward to seeing Lucy, his childhood best friend, every Christmas when she returns to their neighborhood to visit her father.  However, this year Lucy is dramatically altered in appearance and attitude causing Evan to question the reason for the changes. Comics and other illustrations appear throughout.

The Sigh by Marjane Satrapi
A fairy tale novella about a girl who must go on a quest to save the prince she loves.  Satrapi, a graphic novelist best know for Persepolis, has written and illustrated a beautiful story.

Smoke and Bone…Fire and Thorns

Different worlds, different time, different girls, but two amazing fantasy stories (with similar titles).

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Karou is a mystery, she’s a girl with blue hair who likes to draw monsters.  Well to everyone else they’re monsters but to Karou they’re her family.  While Karou is human she has been raised by a race of beings called chimaera.  When a mysterious meeting with a beautiful winged creature almost causes her death, Karou wonders what is really going on in the world of the chimaera and how is she involved?

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Elisa, a princess, is also the chosen one, selected as a baby for a sacred duty.  Unsure what that means for her future, Elisa must focus on the present and her arranged marriage to the king of a neighboring land.  With war looming Elisa must discover her magic and her role in forming an alliance and defeating their common enemy.  A stunning and complex fantasy about finding your place in the world and discovering who you are.

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

It all began with a balloon. Being the youngest and lightest working on the airship, Aurora, Matt Cruse was sent across the ocean thousands of feet in the air to rescue a balloon and the injured man aboard. On the Aurora the old man soon dies, seemingly going crazy. He talked of strange creatures he saw in the sky. His last words were to Matt: “I only wish Kate could have seen them.”

So begins Kenneth Oppel’s creative, other-worldly novel, Airborn.

Matt soon meets the rich Kate De Vries, a passenger on the Aurora. She is a strong, stubborn character with a passion for science and books.

She reveals to Matt one of her many secrets: She is the balloonist’s granddaughter and is determined to see the strange creatures he spoke of to Matt and wrote about so vividly in his journal

A pirate attack causes a problem with the Aurora and things are not looking good for the airship. Matt is having trouble staying loyal to both his captain and Kate.

This is an exciting and unpredictable story. As soon as circumstances seem to be getting better, there is a turn for the worst.

Airborn also demonstrates the beauty of nature and things untouched by human civilization. As Matt and Kate discover, there are places where very few have ever been and even fewer have returned from. This plants a spark of hope and imagination in reader’s minds to hear of such places as Oppel beautifully describes.

There’s a little of everything in Airborn: romance, adventure, mystery, an exciting trip to lost islands, flying pirate ships, and many other secrets in the sky.

Reviewed by Sabine, Teen Advisory Board member